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Mrs Lanna Switch

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While the bedding industry continues to lag, there is no Hesitation in Don Pellegrini's voice states, "Our goal is to turn into a $400 million business by the end of 1995." Spring Air's president and chief executive said the bedding Producer can prosper--despite the gloomy beddingprediction--throughout the remerchandising of its flagship Back Supporter line, a larger marketing program comprising Vanna White,and a concentrated advertising program attached to the organization's 65th anniversary.

Spring Air's year-to-date sales are oncourse, said Pellegrini, forecasting volume would hit $250 million in 1991, up 11 percent from $225 million in 1990. Spring Air is the fourth largest bedding maker, tracking Sealy, Which had 1990 earnings of roughly $650 million, as well asSimmons and Serta, both with sales just over $300 million. Pellegrini made that rosy forecast for a year in which the International Sleep Products Association projects industrywide earningswill decrease 1.8 percent in units while raising 1.8 percent. In 1990, when industrywide sales fell 3.9 percent in units and 1.3percent in bucks, Spring Air's sales rose 6 per cent from $213 million to $225 million, according to Pellegrini. Spring Air, he added, has grown faster than any other bedding Manufacturer since 1985, the year it achieved sales of $100 million.Earnings rose 125 percent during the following five years. Spring Air recognized the gains by taking advantage of a changingmarketplace, as Sealy and Simmons underwent turbulent leveraged buyouts.

The business reported its biggest gains in 1989--a yearafter it obtained a piece of this coveted Sears catalogue business. Spring Air became one of Sears' core vendors in 1990. "I'm notcalling Spring Air will develop into the primary, second, as well as the third top bedding business from 1995," said Pellegrini."But if we do everything we have to do, and reach our projections, then the rest will take care of itself. And I emphasize 'we.'It's a total team effort" Pellegrini said that that if the Aim is met, Spring Air would Control about 15 percent of the bedding market, when compared withthe 9.5 percent share it currently has. Section of Spring Air's long-term growth strategy could lie in Restructing or joining the company.

 Pellegrini did not dismiss theprospect of taking the firm public, emphasizing the positive economies of scale. "We have numerous choices we are studying, and while we Firmly believe we will grow and achieve our objectives, structured how weare, there can be a better way to allow us to reach our aim," Pellegrini said. "I believe the industry is changing and thesechanges will grow throughout the next decade. Additionally, there are more immediate strategies--1991 for example--that need to bedealt with." The product news for 1991 is the remerchandising of the Back Supporter Product line with all the Conforma Collection, whichfeatures a tri-zone support layer of foam. Zone 1 conforms to the head, neck and shoulder, reducing strain in these muscle groups,according to the organization. Zone two is said to encourage the lower back in a more natural position.

 Zone 3 cradles hips andthighs. The collection includes the super premium Luxury Caress and Classic Caress models, Together with the ultra superior Ultra Caress,Caress of Wool and SilkEssence models. Selected pillowtops feature a tri-zone coating under the quilt for additional relaxation.Mattresses in the collection begin at $799 for queen size models and are priced to $1,399. "The Conforma collection provides visible and demonstrable Physical characteristics that the consumer can feel and see."Pellegrini stated.

"This, we feel, is a value-added merchandising benefit that will help meet consumer questions regarding thisproduct. It's a means for the retailer to get away from focusing on price and warranties when selling the bed." Furthermore, Spring Air is celebrating its 65th year with an Anniversary Back Supporter Limited Edition mattress manufacturedspecifically for the function. It's offered in a pillowtop for $499 in tight and queen top for $699. To help merchandise all of its lines, Spring Air has designed a Photo display to improve retail presentation. Jim Tobin, seniorvice president of marketing and sales, said the 40-inch from 48-inch lifestyle scenes can be positioned behind or between beds,within an easel or wall, or suspended from the ceiling.

"It's simply another way to help the merchant market the Mattress," Tobin said. "Also, it produces a sort of 'Spring Air beddingdepartment.' Our goal is not only to grow ourselves, but to assist our retailers grow also." Presently, Spring Air does about 48 percent of its company with Furniture stores, 20 percent with department stores, 12 percentagewith sleeping stores and 17 percentage with national chains.

The remaining portion of the business is done via other channels,such as Pairing. "For us to grow, we have to expand our retail base," Pellegrini said. "But we want each segment to grow evenly, and that includesnational accounts. Sleep shops are a growing retail section throughout the board, but for us to attain the amounts we desire, wehave to grow every section evenly."

Several stores in Spring Air's roster of balances, which Includes furniture shops like Weir's, nationwide chains such as Sears,and these sleep stores as Rockaway Bedding and Sleepy's, said that the firm has made excellent strides in joining the other "S"companies as a bedding pioneer. "I carry the majors, and Spring Air does well in my floor," stated the president of an East Coastsleep store chain. "We've got a fantastic relationship with their licensee, and he providers us well. From a merchant'sstandpoint, that is important." Spring Air has been effective in taking market share from other "S" companies, said industry observers, citing the organization'ssavvy in gaining distance with retailers that didn't want to place all their eggs in a Sealy or Simmons basket.

"The industry keeps using that term, 'window of Opportunity,' and also Spring Air is one business that took advantage of it," saidone competitor. "Spring Air has become a more recognized name. But $400 million? I really don't know. A good deal of things needto break the ideal way to allow them to perform it." To build consumer awareness of this Spring Air new name, the Company has embarked on its biggest advertising campaign, featuringspokeswoman Vanna White. The $4.2 million advertising budget--up $1 million in 1990--includes Spring Air's first venture tonational cable network advertisements, some emerging in prime time this month on CNN.

 Network spots will run using latenightprogramming and in the early morning on ABC, CBS, and NBC. Together with increasing its advertising expenditures, the company Has pioneered a conscious marketing campaign including makingdonations from portions of consumer purchases, to "Reinvesting in America," a program of the World Hunger Year organization. ASpring Air-Vanna White "Bed Bank" aimed at donating bedding to organizations assisting the homeless a part of this app. The firstone was held in Boulder, Col. through Mattress Specialists, a sleeping store there, and lately Spring Air functioned withUnclaimed Freight in a similar contribution in the Bethlehem/Allentown, Pa. region. "We believe efforts like this are very significant," stated Don Balsavich, senior vice president of operations.

"We must recognizeneeds in the community and address them. Our retailers should expect to see any increased business, and we should gain truenationwide recognition. We have to give back something." Even though Pellegrini, Tobin and Balsavich are counting on innovative Products, merchandising programs and advertising strategiesto keep the business strong at the retail level, they're quick to remember the 38 licensees have been Spring Air's backbone.

"It all goes back to being a team," Pellegrini said. "minus the licensees performing their jobs, making the quality products, andServicing their markets, we wouldn't be enjoying the success we're right now."